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LinkedIn smashes through dire economy with HUGE sales jump

Social-network-for-suits on fire. But forecast dampens numbers

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LinkedIn posted its first financial numbers on Thursday, after going public earlier this year, and surprised (almost) everyone by pinning a giddy revenue increase of 120 per cent on its Q2 results.

The California-based company and Google neighbour just so happened to release those figures on what was a very bad day indeed for the world economy, which led to lots of shouts of "sell, sell, sell" over on Wall Street yesterday.

LinkedIn said revenues for the second quarter ended 30 June rose to $121m compared with the same period a year earlier when the then privately held outfit racked up sales of $54.9m.

Net income at LinkedIn was relatively flat, however, with the company notching up $4.5m in Q2. That's a $0.2m jump in one year. Nonetheless, it did mean profit was up on 2010's figures.

Adjusted EBITDA for the period was $26.3m, or 22 per cent of revenue, compared to $11.5m for the second quarter of 2010, or 21 per cent of sales.

The number of people piling into the social-network-for-suits also grew, with an impressive 61 per cent increase to 115.8 million people signing-on compared with the number of people on LinkedIn's books in last year's Q2.

Presumably, a crappy economy is a VERY GOOD THING for the site, which is populated by "professionals", who post their job history and then connect with would-be employers in an attempt for some to get their careers back on track.

"In the second quarter, we saw record levels of members, unique visitors, and page views, while revenue growth further accelerated," said LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner.

"Going forward, we plan to continue to invest in our team, technology, and products in order to increase the value we deliver to members and realize the full potential of the LinkedIn platform."

Beyond the headline-grabbing $121m revenue figure, the breakdown of sales for the company's Q2 revealed exactly where it generated its cash from.

A 60 per cent increase of LinkedIn's subscription package at $23.9m was relatively subdued when compared with growth in its hiring (170 per cent at $58.6m) and marketing (111 per cent at $38.6m) divisions.

The company also offered Q3 guidance yesterday, saying it expected revenue between $121m and $125m, but margins are likely to be halved with EBITDA projected at $9m-$11m.

LinkedIn, on the eve of its IPO in May this year, valued itself at $4bn. Arguably, the social network's first public Q2 results demonstrate it is still trying to prove its long-term worth. ®

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